The Rapidian

A Q&A with Hip Hop Producer Nixon

Underwriting support from:
Nixon on-stage

Nixon on-stage /Jason Burke

Nixon on-the-mic

Nixon on-the-mic /Jason Burke

Nixon spitting some rhymes

Nixon spitting some rhymes /Jason Burke

Nixon is arguably the most preeminent producer in the local scene having captured a number of Grand Rapids Hip Hop Coalition awards in recent years. He is also one of the most sought-after emcees in the local landscape.  Everyone involved with the local hiphop community knows who Nixon is, and he has earned his stripes.  

I listened to Pyrit Radio, his first album, when I was first getting in to local hiphop, and it is still one of my favorite albums of the past five years.  His second release is called Devil's Rejects, and is on my iPod, which I listen to at least monthly.  I am a big Nixon fan, but he is due for something new, and on July 9, he'll be releasing 'Nixtape' at Billy's Lounge (1437 Wealthy SE), complete with a live performance.

We discussed a broad range of topics, some of which are covered in this interview excerpt. For the complete transcript of the interview, you can visit my hip hop blog. You can follow Nixon on Twitter at @nixontwits.


DD: What is it like being a producer, being the guy behind the scenes, after being at the forefront, is there anything that you can compare it to in real life, and how much has the Grand Rapids Hip Hop Coalition's Award show wins affected your approach to what you do?

NIXON: Being a producer is something I really enjoy.  I like working with artists.  A lot of 'producers' say, "I'm a producer, not just a beat maker."  I actually am.  I won't lie tho, I have done a fair share of just beat making.  My true passion is producing my own albums.  I love being the sole creater of the music.  Making the beat, and writing the rhyme.  As far as the Awards go, I felt honored to win one, let alone six (five in 2009, one in 2008).  It didn't effect my approach, it just let me know I was on the right track.


I just want to clear the air on something, when I said in a blog post that I liked Pyrit Radio better than Devil's Rejects, it was not meant as a snub like you were not growing between your first and second projects, its just that I think Pyrit Radio is my favorite local release, and one of my favorite all-time albums. How can you compare the two today?

NIXON: It didn't bother me.  They are two totally different albums.  Pyrit Radio was ment to be similar to The Chronic in the sense of a Producer doing an album, and having a lot of guest features.  There is a lot of story telling in it.  I'm a big fan of this technique.  I can mentally picture each character and all the surroundings when I'm writing like this.  Devil's Rejects is more about me, and was me working out a lot of my personal issues through writing.


DD: Do you ever wish you were doing what you are doing some place else, like the whole grind would be more gratifying in a place like Chicago, where there is an established hiphop community? Or are you satisfied being a pioneer in a new market?

NIXON: I think it may be easier some other places, but like I said, I love GR.  I think we have the potential to break out.  We just need someone to expose this place as a solid spot for great hip hop.  It was a lot of work to get things the way they are and it's going to continue to be hard work maintaining it and expanding it.  You just gotta have drive, and constantly set new goals.


DD: Who do you consider fans, contemporaries, colleagues, and competitors, or are they all one in the same, I guess I know you and Rick Chyme work together, and you and Ed Nino just did the Welcome 2 Jericho project, but i dont hear your name much with others, who else would you like to work with?

NIXON: I kind of think of everyone all in one sense.  I'm a fan of a lot of hip hop here in town as they are fans of mine.  There's always competition, that's a part of hip hop.  I've worked with a ton of people.  A lot just through engineering alone, that may be why you might not see my name, but also through producing.  I've worked with the people you've mentioned along with Suport, Eastown J, steddy, Gray Theory, A.B. & Coconut Brown. I produced the only song on their album that didn't feature any band members (Black Bond, 1979).  That felt pretty good knowing how good of a band they are and that they just liked beat so much they put it on there.  There's probably too many to name all togather.  My personal favorite thing to do as a producer is to work on entire albums, like The Field, or Welcome to Jericho.  I would like to produce a non-electronic track for Flying Without Wingz.  I'd like to see what they'd do over some old school hip hop sh*t.  I think it could be dope.


For the complete interview with Nixon, visit my hip hop blog.

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